Wednesday, April 27, 2011

'Roadfood' Got It Right!!

Recently, Laurie and I went on a 5 night road trip to South Carolina, focusing primarily on Charleston, but we also visited some other towns and drove a lot of back roads…  When we travel, we have a ready list of attractions, sights and possible places to eat along the way.  For our restaurant lists, we rely on Guy Fieri’s listings from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Jane and Michael Stern’s ‘Roadfood’ publications and website, as well as magazines such as Midwest Living and Southern Living.

While none of these sources are always right on, in this instance, ‘Roadfood’ absolutely got it right!  We rolled into Beaufort South Carolina a little after 2 PM and commenced to search for Sgt. White’s Diner.  We found it with little time to spare as they close at 3 PM!
Even as late as it was, we had to wait in line.  Most of the customers were members of our military forces, especially from the Marine Corps.  Everyone in line was ordering dinner from the “Home Cooking Buffet” cafeteria style, and a couple of guys, (one an active and the other a retired Marine), were in great humor, joking with each other and exchanging banter with Sgt. White himself... It was like a stand-up comedy routine! 
Dinners included 1 meat with 2 sides plus corn bread and a drink…all for only $7.99!

Laurie ordered the Pit Cooked BBQ Ribs with mashed potatoes and gravy plus the butter beans.  OK…Here’s the scoop!  Laurie rated these ribs as the Best Ever!  For want of a better description, they were in the sauce on the hot table and they were juicy and maybe a little ‘carmelized’.  She loved them!  The mashed potatoes were real and the gravy was very nice.  The butter beans had been cooked with butter and bits of ham.  They were loaded with flavor!  As for the cornbread, it was dense and sweet…and it served as our dessert.  We’d never tasted cornbread like this…it was really good!

So I went a different route… I’d noticed that the retired Marine had ordered deep fried pork chops as his meat.  Fortunately, Sgt. White fried up a couple more and I grabbed them up.  Just terrific, that’s all I can say!  More on that gravy…there were actually chunks of meat in it…and more flavor than I’ve had in any gravy for a long, long time!  I ordered the smothered cabbage as my second side and it was great!

We were totally blown away by all this comfort food!  We ate in several restaurants in Charleston and elsewhere on this trip…some fancy and some not so much…but Sgt. White’s Diner served up the best overall meal. (Actually, it was the most flavorful and satisfying meal that we’ve enjoyed in quite some time!)
This was our host and chef…Sgt. Ronald White and his very hard working right arm,  Alvena. (She runs the front, serving, orders, refills, everything!) Not only can Ron cook but he’s a very nice guy with a great sense of humor.  He’s proud of what he does and the pride shines through via the food!  Before he came out of the kitchen to have his photo taken, he put on the clean chef’s jacket.  He told us that he wished that we’d arrived a bit earlier so we could have tried a couple other sides from the hot table. 
All of the meats and vegetables at the Diner are from local farms and everything is cooked fresh daily.  Sandwiches are available as are orders of ‘Just Shrimp’, fish and Pit Cooked BBQ.  The meats available from the compact cafeteria line vary but they range from our entrees to Smothered Steak and Onions, to Stewed and Fried Chicken to Fried Local Fish to Roast Pork and Braised Beef…16 possibilities in total!  Sarge also serves up his secret recipe Gumbo plus 14 possible choices from the vegetable garden.  These include Candied Yams, Fried Squash, Fried Okra, Macaroni and Cheese plus Fresh Local Greens.
We would recommend Sgt. White’s Diner to anyone who isn’t obsessed with china, silverware and fancy surroundings.  Note: The decor is very patriotic...lots of Marine Corps memorabilia) This Diner serves up excellent home cooking at a great price in a friendly setting…and we will return!
Sgt. White’s Diner is only open from 11 AM until 3 PM Monday through Friday.  It’s located at 1908 Boundary Street in Beaufort South Carolina.  Phone: 843-522-2029.   Try it…you’ll like it! 


  1. Damn - this made me want to jump in the car and head for SC.

  2. Dave, it sounds like a place I would love. I hope I get to visit it one day. Have a great evening. Blessings...Mary